Modern Jazz Guitar Harmony 6/6/15

Jazz guitarists such as Ben Monder, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Lage Lund, Jonathan Kreisberg, Gilad Hekselman have taken jazz guitar into the 21st century.  There has been a linage of great, innovative jazz guitarists over the years from Charlie Christian, Django Reindhart, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Pat Metheney and more through to the current young guns taking the New York Jazz scene by storm.  The likes of Lage and Gilad are still in their twenties, in fact our very own Dave Drake from the Brunswick Jazz Jam moved to New York and is now playing with Gilad and co.

I’ve always been interested in Jazz guitar harmony, chords and solo guitar.  I love all the shredding but the tasteful use of chords is interesting to me and I always love the sound of new exciting guitar chord voicings.

Having listened extensively to Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Wes Montgomery and all the other greats from the late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s has helped guide me and inspire my practise.  These guitarists are amazing musicians and true musical legends, in fact myself, Vic & Laurent got to see Pat Martino at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club recently and he’s still on fire!

However, I’ve been checking out these new kids on the block and they have completely blown me away.  Their use of intricate modern sounding lines and harmony is totally fresh sounding.  Mike Stern says “I need to practise more than ever as these guys are kicking my ass right now!”

In the previous jazz guitar masters’ playing, I can hear extensive use of the drop 2 voicings etc… but what the hell are the new cats doing?

Well I’ve been exploring quartal harmony for years and use it in my playing and we shall come onto that soon in due course.  I’ve been hearing different chords in these new guitar styles too which are not quartal harmony chords but something else.  What though?!!!!

So I sat down and painfully and slowly tried to transcribe chord voicings, it was sheer infuriating hell :/  I managed to get some and then work from first principles to see how they arrived at these voicings, and I applied inversions and came up with sets of chords I’d never played before.

I’d also heard some cool voicings which sounded different to standard guitar chord voicings in classical guitar music such as in the music of Heitor Villa Lobos.  I learnt some of the tunes from the score and went aha!!!  Villa Lobos was using similar voicings spanning the 20’s to the 40’s as these hip young cats of the noughties (and teenies? Is that the decade we’re in now?)

So anyway, I’ve worked out a thorough, systematic approach on how to derive these chord voicings and start using them in tunes both for comping, solo guitar and mixing with single note lines.  From this class on Saturday June 6th, you will greatly benefit in these areas….

1.  Expert knowledge of chord tones
2.  Excellent knowledge of the guitar neck
3.  Fresh modern sounding jazz guitar voicings
4.  Technique, some of them are quite stretchy!
5.  Intervals
6.  Knowledge of the notes all over the guitar neck
7.  Good prep for the upcoming classes on quartal harmony

When I hit on these new chords, it was really exciting for me and I’m still trying to squeeze them in more and more in my live playing.  I played some at the Jam last Tuesday and got some raised eyebrows from Eddie Myer.

So all you have to do for prep is to memorize the drop 2 voicings in this video for F major chords and inversions on the bottom four strings.  You’ve looked at these before so should be ok.  But really look at EVERY note in EVERY inversion and KNOW what chord tone it is!  We will derive the new voicings from these.  It’s gonna be fun and exploratory.

Of course, revise these ones below too, but the above video is really our start of first principles for the upcoming work.

Fminor bottom 4

F7 Bottom 4

SO see you Saturday 6th June 11am at the Brunswick! £20 (non changeable, refundable).  Advanced booking advised.

Lets start of quest for modern harmony n raise a few eyebrows on our gigs we do!

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+
This entry was posted in Brighton, brighton jazz bands, classical guitarist, East, East Sussex, Entertainment Agancy, entertainment agency, Guitar | Band, Guitar | Duo, Guitar | Jazz Jam, Guitar | Latin, Guitar | Lessons, Guitar | Weddings, Jazz Agency, Jazz Agent, jazz bands, jazz bands sussex, jazz duos, jazz quartets, jazz trios, Kent, Live Music, London, london jazz bands, Love Supreme Festival, Music Agency, Music Agent, quartet, Surrey, Sussex, sussex jazz band, sussex jazz bands, Sussex Jazz Guitar School, transcribing, transcriptions, Valentine's night, verdict jazz club, wedding guitarist, wedding music, weddings, West, West Sussex and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply